Monday, March 16, 2009

St. Paddy's Day Special: Traditional Music/Ceol Traidisiúnta

To those expecting a Really Old Music post today: To my surprise, a lot of people came to check out the post of Irish music. The visits are still going on, and I don't want to distract anyone who comes to read it, so I'm going to leave things alone until Saturday. Look for Benny Goodman next Wednesday. Thanks!

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This is a special St. Patrick’s Day post. The regular Saturday post is below this one.

This is just a short note to celebrate some of the good music I know from Irish and Irish-American artists. The mini-bios in English are mine, and the Irish ones (see below) are from Vicipéid, the Irish-language Wikipedia.

Dervish are from County Sligo. Their lineup includes Brian McDonagh (mandola), Liam Kelly (flute, whistles), Tom Morrow (fiddles), Shane Mitchell (accordion), Cathy Jordan (vocals, bodhrán, bones), and Michael Holmes (bouzouki). I first encountered them at the Lotus World Music and Arts Festival in Bloomington, Indiana, several years ago. They have been recording copiously since 1989. My favorite song of theirs is “An Spailpín Fánach,” from End of the Day (1996). Shane McAleer is the fiddler on this tune.

Solas is the Irish word for “light.” The Irish-American group that took the name has produced nine albums since 1996. Like light through a prism, the members have scattered over time: only Séamus Eagan (flute, whistle, bodhrán, etc.) and Winifred Horan (fiddle) remain from the group that recorded Sunny Spells and Scattered Showers in 1997. From that album, I have selected “Aililiú Na Gamhna” for you. At the time, the group’s vocalist was Karan Casey, from Co. Waterford, who now enjoys a successful solo career.

The Chieftains, to state the obvious, are the trad band of greatest renown. Apart from their work as a group, beginning in 1963, they have collaborated with a number of artists, including Elvis (Costello), Mick Jagger, Ziggy Marley, and Tom Jones. I discovered them (late) in 1978, when I picked up their album Chieftains 9: Boil the Breakfast Early in part because it included a delightful tune called “Seán Ó Duibhir a’Ghleanna” (Seán O’Dwyer of the Glen). If you didn’t know my full name before, you do now. I fell in love with the tune “Carolan’s Welcome,” composed by Turlough O'Carolan (Toirdhealbhach Ó Cearbhalláin, 1670-1738), a blind itinerant harper. The tune seems not to have been named by Carolan, but by the Chieftains, who played it for the Pope’s arrival in Ireland. The song offered me my first taste of music on the uilleann pipes, “uilleann” referring to “elbow” and being a relative of “ulnar.” Paddy Moloney played them here.

There’s plenty more to listen to, but if I get going, I won’t ever stop. The song links appear after some Irish text.

Dervish: Banna traidisiúnta ó gContae Shligigh in Éirinn ab iad Dervish. Bunaíodh an banna seo sa bhliain 1989. Roghnaíodh Dervish mar iarratasóir na hÉireann sa Chomórtas Eoraifíse don bhliain 2007, ach críochnaigh Dervish in áit deireanach na Chomórtais.

Chieftains: Grúpa ceoil traidisiúnta Éireannach atá ar na Chieftains, a bhí bunaithe sa bhliain 1963. Is iad Paddy Moloney, Michael Tubridy, Matt Molloy, Kevin Conneff, Seán Keane, Martin Fay, agus Derek Bell na baill a bhí ag seinm leis an mbanna i rith na blianta. Is é Moloney atá ina cheannaire ar an mbanna, agus is eisean a scríobhann nó a chóiríonn an chuid is mó den saothar atá acu.

Bhí Toirdhealbhach Ó Cearbhalláin (25 Márta 1670 - 1738) ina chruiteoir, cumadóir is ceoltóir caoch. Thaisteal sé timpeall Éire ag seinm agus ag canadh leis a saoithre féin agus indiu tá cáiliúil air mar sin. agus d'éag sé ar an 25 Márta 1738 i Ros Comáin. Cláirseoir a bhí ann a chum cuid mhaith dá chuid ceoil féin, chomh maith le dánta éagsúla. Thosaigh sé ag foghlaim an cheoil nuair a chaill sé radharc na súl ag 18 mbliana d'aois, agus chuaigh sé ag taisteal ar fud na tíre ag seinm agus ag cumadh ceoil do phátrúin éagsúla. Agus é ag seinm i dtithe na n-uaisle chuala sé ceol Iodálach agus chuaigh an stíl nua sin i bhfeidhm ar a chuid cumadóireachta féin. Mar gheall ar a dhaille ní fhéadfadh sé ceol a léamh ná a scríobh ach mhair timpeall dhá chéad píosa a chum sé sa traidisiún. Rinne Seán Ó Riada agus daoine eile athbheochan ar cheol Uí Chearbhalláin sa dara leath den fhichiú haois agus tá an-cháil ar phíosaí ar nós "Sí Bheag, Sí Mhór" agus na píosaí a dtugtar 'plancstaíplanxty' orthu.

For Wednesday, some Big Band clarinet virtuosity. See you then!

Dervish, An Spailpín Fánach

Solas, Aililiú Na Gamhna

Chieftains, Carolan's Welcome

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

May I be the first to wish you a very Happy St. Patrick's Day?

And thank you for sharing the lovely Irish tunes!